March 6, 2009 -
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Police Chief Sterling Owen named Sgt. Robert Hembree the December Officer of the Month for the Knoxville Police Department. Sgt. Hembree has been with the department since January 1997.
On December 3, 2008, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Sgt. Hembree responded with officers to Sevier Avenue to investigate an in-progress carjacking call which reportedly involved a handgun. Sgt. Hembree assisted in getting suspect information from the victim and then coordinated a search of the area for the suspect.
At 4:37 a.m., Sgt. Hembree spotted the stolen vehicle being driven by the described suspect on Moody Avenue. Sgt. Hembree followed the vehicle to an apartment complex where the suspect immediately jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot.
Chief Owen said, “Sgt. Hembree, without assistance and not knowing if the suspect was still armed, gave chase and was able to take the suspect into custody without incident. The handgun, which turned out to be a black BB pistol, was recovered from the vehicle.”
The suspect, Richard Long (DOB 6-28-64), was charged with Carjacking, Evading Arrest, Driving on a Suspended License, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. The stolen Chevrolet pickup truck was returned to the uninjured victim.
Chief Owen said, “Sgt. Hembree is extremely active throughout his shift assisting all of his officers in their regular duties while maintaining his supervisory duties. He consistently holds himself to a very high standard in every aspect of his duty, appearance, and professional attitude.”
Mayor Haslam said, “We commend Sgt. Hembree for his performance and leadership. Thank you for a job well done.”